Thirteen years after my misdiagnosed autoimmune disorder, 18 years after having debilitating painful periods almost every month, and almost nine years after going gluten-free and feeling healthy, here I am with a potential new diagnosis.
In hindsight, it all makes perfect sense. Ehlers-Danlos and mast cell activation syndrome. I have many of the symptoms of each. Yet, no one—outside of my integrative health doctor a few months ago—told me that I had these disorders.
Yet I know that at least one of my doctors knew I had Ehlers-Danlos. She had me perform the maneuvers of the Beighton score during my appointment at the age of 21. At the time, I didn’t know that’s what she was asking me to do; all I knew was that she was surprised by my hypermobility. She never told me I had the disorder.
(I recently attempted to find this doctor—who told me I would be on chemotherapy for the rest of my life to manage my autoimmune disorder, and who I only saw once—to get my records only to find that the practice is closed and I cannot locate her. Very frustrating. She came highly recommended to me from some acquaintances who had lupus—she turned out to be a total joke. She knew I had Ehlers-Danlos, probably knew about the connection between Ehlers-Danlos and mast cell activation syndrome, and probably could have come to the conclusion that my “autoimmune disease” was a result of my body overreacting to foods that it didn’t like.) Anyway!
So how did I get from there to HERE?
You can read the full story here, but the short version is this: I walked out of that doctor’s office feeling hopeless yet determine that this was not going to be my life. I found an herbalist who helped me figure out that gluten was causing all my symptoms. I stopped eating gluten and have been fine for the past nine years without any medication.
While I’m currently healthier than I’ve ever been in my whole life, there were still some nagging issues that I couldn’t quite figure out.
The insanely painful periods (which have improved SO MUCH with help from my herbalists, but still sometimes leave me in bed all day)
My unexplained anxiety and skin picking disorder
The bad reaction I’d often have to alcohol (I’ve since quit drinking for good)
Having brain fog after eating
My orthostatic hypotension and low blood pressure
Hives after eating food (never quite figured out which foods caused this)
I couldn’t put my finger on it, and often times I’d forget that many of these symptoms weren’t normal because I’d been experiencing them forever. I chalked it up to genetics: my dad has insomnia and dry skin, my mom and brother have some form of skin picking disorder (which is actually a mild form of OCD).
Brain fog and hives are classic symptoms of a food intolerance, but I couldn’t figure out what I was eating that was causing these symptoms. I already don’t eat gluten, dairy, alcohol, and genetically modified food. I also do my best to avoid refined sugars (although, of course, I do indulge once in a while).
So what was going on?
I blamed it on my parents: I got screwed with bad genes, blah blah blah. But that didn’t explain my low blood pressure (high blood pressure runs on both sides of my family), and it didn’t explain my bad periods. There were gaps that I didn’t understand.
I needed to talk to my integrative health doctor to get some paperwork for my job in DC. I tried to get reception to send it, but they said that I had to schedule an appointment. Boo. So I did, even though I didn’t really feel that I needed to see him. It was COVID times, so I had a phone appointment with him (I love my integrative health doctor, I just hate doctors in general, so I always have an attitude when talking to him).
We spoke about some of my symptoms and he suddenly but strongly suggested that I had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and mast cell activation syndrome after asking me some questions. After asking me to come in for bloodwork, we got off the phone.
At first, I didn’t think much of his suggestions, but then, I felt upset. Here I am with yet another disorder—ahem, disorders—at age 30.
So I started researching and read the material my doctor sent me. I was convinced that I had this. I had so many of the symptoms. Not only could I perform several of the actions on the Beighton score, but I also had Gorlin sign—the ability to touch the tip of my nose with my tongue—something I’d always been able to do. Only 10% of people can do this, but 50% of people with Ehlers-Danlos can.
I’m still learning about Ehlers-Danlos and mast cell activation syndrome, but I can’t help but feel that this is a huge missing link in the big picture of my health—a merging of my misdiagnosis and my current symptoms. I also found some tentative research about the role of mast cells in dermatomyositis, and how mast cells could not only be “the first cells” to become activated in dermatomyositis, but also how maybe treating mast cell activation could be a missing link for those with dermatomyositis.
I’m currently working my herbalist to address many of my mast cell related symptoms and am excited to see what the future holds for my health! And the neck tattoo? Don’t worry, it’s on the list for next year 🙂
I’m Turning 30: Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far in Life
Ok so technically I turned 30 a couple days ago (where are my fellow Cancers????). I was hoping to get this post up before then, but, you know, life 🙂
I’ve had some insane experiences in my life and I never thought I’d live past 18. Turning 30 inspired me to reflect on all the things I’ve learned so far in my three decades on this planet.
So here are 20 things I’ve learned in my 30 years of being alive.
1. Your parents are imperfect people. Maybe they did the best they could. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they were unenlightened pieces of shit who abused you (sorry, just read Dr. Alice Miller’s The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting, which I highly recommend!). You don’t have to forgive them. You do not owe them anything. And you are not responsible for their happiness, problems, or their general wellbeing.
2. Love will come in many forms. You won’t always recognize it or be willing to receive it. It could be in the form of forgiveness. It could be an animal that needs your help. It could be a person you just met. Open yourself to receive all love’s mystical forms. They will be the best decisions you ever make.
3. If you’ve had orthodontic work in the past, wear your retainer! Unfortunately, you need to wear it nightly for life to keep your teeth from shifting. Even if you can’t do nightly, do it as often as you can, even if it’s only once every few weeks. It’ll prevent your teeth from shifting and you from having to get braces again when you’re like 45.
4. Not everyone will understand you, and that’s ok, because you won’t understand everyone either. Be unapologetically yourself because there’s only one you, and you are completely magic.
5. Take care of your body. It’s really the only thing you have. Your care of your body affects everything about your life. Don’t shortchange yourself by neglecting your temple.
6. Don’t hold back. You will regret every second you spent making small talk or letting other people make you feel bad. Let go of the meaningless things and dig your hands into the deepness of life. It’s here that your growth will happen.
7. The moments that bring you to your knees and leave you struggling to breathe are your most profound truths. Don’t deny what you feel. Experience every flinching emotion that presents itself. You won’t always feel this way. Embrace it.
8. Take care of your skin just like your inner body and mind. Listen to what it needs. Only use pure products. It’ll thank you!
9. Your teachers are not who or what you think they are. They come in different forms. They could be a dying rabbit. They could be a child. They could be a rainstorm. They could be an abusive partner. LISTEN. Listen to what everything is telling you. Let it transform you, let it teach you, let it bring you closer to your truth.
10. Pay attention to what others’ lives are like. They will also be your teachers. Let their paths be mirrors to your own life. And remember that what you react to in others is also within you.
11. Trust your gut. Logic could be screaming that something makes sense, but if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You always have the choice to walk away. You always have the right to change your mind.
12. Only buy things that truly inspire you (and, you know, food). Everything else is a waste of your money.
13. FLOSS YOUR TEETH! And go to the dentist for a cleaning every once in a while! Your teeth will look whiter and you’ll help prevent so many common dental problems as you age.
14. Blood is just blood. If your family doesn’t respect you, they don’t deserve a place in your life, period. You deserve to be surrounded by people who truly see you and nourish your best self.
15. Be kind to people. You truly have no idea what someone else is going through. Think about how you would want someone to treat you on your darkest days. Maybe the person who cut you off was rushing to their sick or dying spouse. Maybe the person who gave you a nasty look in the grocery store was jealous of how magical you are. Maybe their rudeness has nothing to do with you.
16. That being said, don’t tolerate disrespect. You deserve to be respected.
17. Acknowledge your feelings. It’s amazing how much hurt, how much shame, how much negativity, can happen when feelings go unrealized. Recognize how you feel. You don’t have to name it, but do look at it full on. Let it know that you see it. Only then will it release its hold on you.
18. EAT GOOD FOOD (and by good, I mean healthy). You can pay for health insurance, but you can’t pay for your health. Invest in it now by nourishing your body. Inform yourself. Get tested for food intolerances. Listen to your symptoms. The common factor of all disease is inflammation. Keep it down by being smart about what you eat.
19. Not everyone is able to support you in the ways that you need. They may not be physically, mentally, or spiritually able to. Don’t punish them for this or resent them for the things they are not able to do or do not know how to do. At the end of the day, only you are responsible for your care of yourself.
20. The things that have broken you are not the things that define you. They are your teachers, yes. They are pointers to the truth. But they are not what makes you you. You are free to learn from them and let them go.
I’m interested to see what the next decade brings!
The Real, Research-Backed Reasons Why (And How) Marijuana Can Hurt You
I don’t usually discuss my personal views on things such as recreational drugs on my blog, but I’ve always been anti-marijuana (and anti-drug in general) so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.
I have never used recreational drugs, never smoked or vaped ever, and I don’t drink (for the record, I have drank in the past but have never been drunk, and I’ve been officially sober since November 2019).
Unfortunately, it seems as though more people believe that marijuana isn’t harmful to human health (or environmental health), which is leading to an increased number of users.
That being said, I do recognize that using drugs and drinking are personal choices. I would argue that they should be informed choices, so let’s talk about how marijuana can influence the body, as well as my thoughts on cannabidiol (CBD) oil use.
Marijuana Use Can Permanently Alter Brain Function
Research published in the Journal of Neuroscienceconcludes that smoking as little as one to two joints can change gray matter in the brains of teenagers.
Yes, it was a small study—just 46 teens—but their brains showed more gray matter volume. The biggest changes were in the amygdala, which is involved in fear and other emotions, and in the hippocampus, which involves memory and spatial awareness.
But what does this mean?
The researchers aren’t sure, but the lead author of the study says that teenage brains undergo a process where it gets thinner as it refines synaptic connections, and they suspect that marijuana use disrupts this process.
1,037 individuals were followed from birth to 38 years old, establishing research criteria from before marijuana use started to well after a pattern of use had been established.
The research concluded that “persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education”.
What does this mean, exactly?
It means that cannabis has a neurotoxic (meaning damage to the brain or nervous system) effect on the brain, and even after ceasing cannabis use, neuropsychological functioning (which is related to cognition and behavior) was not fully restored.
Negatively Impacts Fertility and Fetal Development
If you’re planning on having a baby, it’s best to stay away from marijuana for three reasons.
Changes sperm DNA. The psychoactive component in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana alters the DNA of sperm. Again, this was a small study—24 people—but it showed that THC alters a DNA process that’s “essential to normal development”, although researchers aren’t yet clear on how this affects the children this sperm is responsible for.
Problems for baby post-birth.Babies exposed to marijuana in the womb are not only more likely to have a low birth weight, but are more likely to need neonatal intensive care compared to babies whose mothers didn’t use marijuana during pregnancy.
Children may be at an increased risk for behavioral issues. Women who smoked marijuana during pregnancy have been found to have children with behavioral problems, even after controlling for outside variables. Children exposed to marijuana in utero tend to be more impulsive, hyperactive, have lower IQs, and have an increased risk for memory and mental health problems.
Marijuana Use Can Also Affect Your Mental Health
Cannabis use “is likely” to increase the risk of developing disorders such as schizophrenia and social anxiety disorder, and may exacerbate symptoms of bipolar disorder. Heavy cannabis users are also more likely to report having suicidal thoughts.
In one study of 50,000 people, marijuana use during adolescence was associated with a 30 percent increased risk of developing schizophrenia. The higher the marijuana use, the higher the risk for schizophrenia.
Some research also notes an increased risk of depression with regular marijuana use, although other studies have not reached this conclusion. However, a recent study noted that people under the age of 18 who used marijuana were 37 percent more likely to experience depression in early adulthood than those that didn’t.
A small study of 43 people also noted changes in impulse control and hostility, including perceptions of hostility, for people when using marijuana.
Contains Many of the Same Carcinogens as Cigarettes (and Puts 4x More Tar in Your Lungs)
I’ve long argued that smoking marijuana is not better than smoking cigarettes by any means. People like to argue that marijuana is “natural” without having any research to back up their claims. Radon is natural too, but it’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer.
So what does research say when it comes to marijuana versus cigarettes?
More Tar in Your Lungs
Research concluded that smoking marijuana “results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar” than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco.
What does this mean? It means four times the amount of tar is being deposited into your lungs when you smoke marijuana than it would be if you were smoking cigarettes. Tar can take years to leave your lungs after you stop smoking, and the longer you smoke, the longer it’ll take for your body to remove the tar.
Higher Concentrations of Some Chemicals
Other research notes that marijuana and tobacco have many of the same chemicals. In fact, ammonia was up to 20 times greater in marijuana smoke than tobacco smoke (ammonia has a corrosive effect on the lungs and can lead to permanent lung damage).
Some people argue that marijuana use helps alleviate chronic pain and reduce anxiety, among other claims.
I’m not arguing that marijuana doesn’t have these effects on people—but I would argue that there are alternatives to solving your problems than permanently damaging your brain, lungs, and body with a substance, and many of them are more “natural” than smoking marijuana.
With marijuana use, I find it hard to feel that people are actually addressing the root cause of their issue, and instead are covering it up or trying to treat it with marijuana, which, as we’ve seen, can cause even more problems in the body.
A Note on CBD
Of course, the use of isolated cannabidiol—a non-psychoactive component of marijuana—has been growing in popularity. While CBD has some promising results, I would argue that people shouldn’t be using it to the extent that they are, as research isn’t caught up enough for us to know its long-term effects.
Again, I’d argue that for many medical problems, there are healthier alternatives that we can take advantage of until further studies are done on CBD’s effect on the human body. Two of these alternatives are diet changes and herbs, which can dramatically influence chronic pain, anxiety, and even cancer.
Note: Before reading this article, please be aware that I discuss sensitive topics such as suicide and self-harm that may be triggering for some people. If you are sensitive to these topics, you may want to consider not reading this article. Please use your discretion before continuing.
In September 2017, I experienced what I now describe as a mental break where I saw something traumatic to me and it impacted me in a profound way.
(I don’t see the point in recounting what I saw here. It does not matter. Everyone’s triggers will be different.)
The next day, I felt utterly hopeless and like I wanted to die.
It was a normal day, except it wasn’t. I actually went shopping at Costco with my mom that morning. It was raining and I was wearing a blue hemp kaftan and had frankincense and myrrh essential oil in my hair. As we walked into the store, I told her a funny story my neighbor had told me, and we doubled over laughing.
I laughed so hard.
And yet, there was a darkness inside me that I couldn’t shake.
Later that evening, as my then-fiancé and I sat on my front porch after dinner, I cried and told him that I felt like I didn’t just want to die, but that I needed to die. We were both afraid, and he held my hand as I told him how I felt.
I felt like nothing mattered. Despite having an amazing family, a wonderful fiancé, two jobs I loved, and four adorable bunnies that gave my life purpose, I felt like none of it mattered and that I needed to kill myself because the world wasn’t ever going to be right and I couldn’t be a part of it anymore.
So this article is about the isolation I felt while experiencing these feelings and how they changed my life.
I Felt Like I Could Talk to No One (And to This Day, Haven’t Talked to Anyone Besides My Husband About These Feelings)
I’m ready for the criticism on this.
It seems like anytime someone says they’re having feelings of hurting themselves or killing themselves, the immediate reaction is that they are in danger and that they need to:
a) get professional help (such as from a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.)
b) call the Suicide Hotline
c) be admitted to the psychiatric unit of the hospital
I didn’t do any of these things.
In fact, I was afraid to talk to anyone about these feelings. I didn’t talk to anyone besides my now-husband. I tried to talk to my best friend about them, but she has issues with talking about death and so couldn’t talk with me about it. (I completely respect her choices and do not have negative feelings towards her about this.)
So my husband heard everything.
We talked about getting me professional help when my feelings and thoughts didn’t get better. I talked about killing myself for months. I felt depressed about the world (I’m an empath; if you don’t know what that is, you can read an article I wrote about it here. It’ll make a lot of sense why I felt this way if you understand what an empath is). I felt like I couldn’t be here anymore even though if nothing else, my bunnies needed me to take care of them.
I didn’t self-harm and hadn’t self-harmed anytime in the last several years, but I thought about how I would kill myself. I felt like I “couldn’t” kill myself because I wouldn’t be able to carry out the act of doing it, but some hours, I felt like I had to.
Sometimes I would get home late at night and think about hurting myself, or feel like I needed to hurt myself. I talked with my then-fiancé about all these feelings. He was worried, but he knew I trusted him and didn’t reach out to anyone about my feelings (I suspected he Googled a lot, though).
Were These Feelings “Bad”?
I realize how “bad” all this sounds. But I also realize there are other people out there who feel like this every day and feel like they can’t talk to anybody about it because it will be taken the wrong way. By being “taken the wrong way”, I mean that their feelings won’t be accepted as normal and that they’ll be treated differently for experiencing these feelings.
I am an adult. I am a person. It’s my personal choice whether or not to seek professional help. I have resources and a network of people who could help me if I chose. I ultimately chose not to speak to anyone else besides my husband because I felt like no one would truly understand. I was also afraid of not only being judged, but of people encouraging me to “seek help” (thinking they know what’s best for me) or treating me differently because of my experience.
I came to realize that these feelings weren’t bad. They were how I felt. It was neither good nor bad that I felt like I wanted to die. I couldn’t keep labeling myself or my feelings. It wasn’t serving any purpose. Was I suicidal? Was I depressed? Maybe. But it wasn’t going to do any good labeling myself those things while I was experiencing my mental break.
A Little History
This wasn’t the first time I’d thought about killing myself. But it was the first time that I seriously considered it.
At the age of 13 and a self-proclaimed atheist (you can read more about that here), I didn’t really see the point of living if we were all just going to die anyway.
I thought about killing myself and thought that eventually that was something I might do. But I never had any real desire to die and eventually stopped thinking about it. I realized that I was a teenager and my life would—hopefully—get better once I was an adult and could do whatever I wanted (it did!).
The break I experienced in 2017 was a completely different thing.
I don’t know if deep down I necessarily wanted to die, but felt like I needed to die. I had a rough plan for how I’d kill myself, though I knew the chances of me following through with it were slim.
I was in a place where I felt like nothing mattered. I felt extremely apathetic and that was scary. I felt like it didn’t matter if I killed myself or not. I simply felt like I couldn’t deal with the world and didn’t want to be here anymore.
I’m the type of person who wishes I didn’t exist because as an empath, the world can be very hurtful to me and sometimes I truly feel like I can’t take it (this is also one of the major reasons I’ve decided not to have children—I’m anti-natalist—among many other reasons).
My husband and I talk about death all the time and are aware that one day we are both going to die, and while this thought is saddening, it’s also liberating knowing I won’t be on this planet forever, and it makes me appreciate my time here more.
Ultimately, however, I feel like the fact that nothing mattered actually led me to keep going.
How My Desire to Die Impacted My Daily Life
Feeling like you want to die changes things. I no longer felt any need to be happy or pretend to be happy about life. I no longer felt like I could do things I didn’t want to do. I actually felt like I couldn’t do these things.
No longer caring made things simple. Not easy, but simple. If I wanted something, I bought it. If I didn’t want to do something, I said no. There was no longer any agonizing over my choices. Who cared?
So the following life changes happened.
1. I Cut Out Friends
I dropped one of my friends during this time (not the one that didn’t want to talk to me about death, she is my best friend). I no longer enjoyed spending time with her even before my break and truly felt like I could not hang out with her anymore after my break. It wasn’t personal. I just couldn’t pretend anymore with the way I felt.
2. I Stopped Spending Holidays with Dysfunctional Family Members
I could no longer spend dysfunctional holidays with my Catholic extended family, which I had been doing forever and never truly enjoyed it. Again, I felt like I literally could not do it. So I copped out of the three dreadful holidays every year I would spend with them.
There was a silver lining to this. Not doing things I didn’t want to do made me much happier. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I now feel relief that I’ve been making conscious choices about what to do with my time. How I spend my time now is very important to me since I’ve had these feelings about dying, perhaps because I’m more aware of how limited my time really is.
3. My Sex Life Went to Shit
My feelings of wanting to die combined with the traumatic thing I witnessed made sex feel really hard. I felt like I couldn’t enjoy it or didn’t deserve to enjoy it because of all the horrible things happening in the world. I also kept having “flashbacks” of the trauma during sex. It was truly awful. It took a long time to get our sex life back on track.
4. I Spent More Money
My feelings made things that used to matter not matter anymore. For instance, I no longer cared about money. I bought whatever I wanted because I felt like it didn’t matter. If I bought something that brought me joy, could I really put a price on that at this point in my life? (This is a dangerous mindset to have when you’re on a budget—not to mention when you’re a freelancer that owes buku taxes at the end of every year.)
5. I Ate More Food
I also felt like it didn’t matter what I ate, although I generally eat really healthy, if I do say so myself. Who cared if I weighed 130 pounds or 230? Did it really matter? I ate a lot of gluten-free cinnamon raisin toast and vegan cream cheese during this time (I later dropped the few extra pounds I gained before my wedding with intermittent fasting).
6. I Appreciated the Tiny Things
These feelings also made me appreciate the teeny tiny things about my life that made me feel good, even if it was just for a second. These things could have been:
Laughing with my family, like I did with my mom that morning at Costco
Feeling the sun on my skin
Eating some goddamn gluten-free cinnamon raisin toast with vegan cream cheese
Spending time with my best friend, even if she didn’t understand what I going through
Having a strawberry kombucha (GT’s what’s up!)
Snuggling with my bunnies
Having a great cup of tea
KINDNESS. This one was huge. I felt so touched anytime someone was kind to me. It could have been the girl at the checkout asking me how I was, or telling me to have a good day. It could have been a stranger smiling at me. It could have been my husband saying “I love you”. It could have been my neighbor calling just to say hi. These tiny things meant so much when I felt so bad.
Perhaps most of all, I appreciated feeling better, even if the steps were tiny. Time passed and while some days were fucking hard, things very slowly got easier. And even if some days I truly didn’t feel ok, that really was ok.
These Are the Things That Helped
So as I said, time went on. I made a list of things that helped me feel less like I wanted to die, which you can read in my empath article. In case you don’t feel like reading that article, these are the seven things that really helped me (although I do go into more detail in that other article about each one).
My husband and I keep this list on our fridge to remind me to do at least a couple of these things daily. It really helps me maintain my mental health and strengthen my resilience, so the next time I do experience a trigger, I can handle it better and get through it easier.
Even though I felt so bad some days, these things did help. For instance, maybe I didn’t feel like exercising on a certain day, but I would read Eckhart Tolle, which was hugely helpful. Or maybe I didn’t feel like meditating, but I would ground, which was easy and made me feel better.
What works for me won’t work for everyone; I just know that these things are helpful for me even if I feel like I want to die.
Where Am I Today?
Today, I do still feel like I want to die on occasion. In the months after my break, my life largely consisted of “not ok” moments with rare moments of happiness. Today, it’s the opposite. I feel a lot better than I felt nearly two years ago, although some days are a struggle, I feel nowhere near as bad I felt back then.
I got married less than a year (about 10 months) after my mental break to my amazing husband. At this time, I was doing much better and knew what I needed to do to feel less depressed.
I’m not saying everything is better. Just that I’m doing better.
So why the heck did I write this article?
I’m tired of not talking about my feelings because of the stigmatism associated with mental health and suicide. Over the last nearly two years since I had my break, literally the only person I have talked to about my feelings has been my husband. And that’s not only doing a disservice to him and to me, but to everyone out there who has felt these same feelings and doesn’t want to be labeled as suicidal or depressed or have people freak out about their feelings.
You may not have seen what I’ve seen or experienced what I’ve experienced. But maybe something happened to you that deeply hurt you and marked your soul and has made you feel like you want to die.
My goal in writing this article isn’t necessarily to offer you hope. Do I think the world is going to get better? Yes, I do. But that’s not the point of this article. I’m here to tell you that your feelings are valid. I’m here to tell you that it’s not wrong or bad to feel like you want to die. I’d even go so far as to say that if someone chooses to kill themselves (as my own grandfather did), then that’s a decision that is theirs and theirs alone. No one else lives your life. No one else feels the things you feel. Only you know if you want to keep going.
I hope you do, only because I’ve done it, and I know that I am better because of this—even though I feel differently about life now and things aren’t all roses—and have something to share with the world. I know you do too. It’s up to you if you want to share it though.
I’ve learned that I can make a difference even if it is small. The thing I witnessed—I work every day to stop it from happening again and that brings meaning, even if it feels small sometimes, to my life. It makes me feel like if I die, I won’t be able to make a difference. But I’m here now and I’m working daily to make the world a better place. I know you can too.
If you want to comment on this article with your feelings, know that you are safe here. Your email address is required to comment, but will never be posted publicly. You are also free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your feelings if you don’t want to post them publicly.
(Also please keep in mind I have 100% control over what comments are publicly posted and I will simply delete anything that I feel is criticism or negativity towards either me or another commenter.)
Thank you for reading and for not judging me, the decisions I’ve made, or how I live my life. No one has lived my life but me, so please don’t comment on what you think is best for me. Thank you.
Clothing: Tube top with inner boob tube, hammer time pants, and Love Me 2 Times below knee sari simplicity dress, all from Gaia Conceptions
This article is a guest post written by Polly Telegina, a holistic health expert from Siberia. She loves writing and helps people to know how to be healthy and beautiful using only natural remedies!
So why is salt even good for you? Sodium is an essential nutrient involved in nerve and muscle function, it helps regulate fluids in the body to prevent dehydration, and it even plays a role in regulating blood pressure.
In fact, you may have heard all this before if you know what an electrolyte is. Yes, salt is an electrolyte! Some things you might not know about salt is that it’s also used by your body to regulate the blood pH and help produce stomach acid. Like any type of food you put in your body, over consuming can cause problems — and may even be toxic.
So why is salt bad? The most common problem it causes is high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Meat, fish, and other food contain salt. Salt is added to most processed foods as a preservative which can make food delicious but unhealthy in the long term. Because of the long term effects, salt should always be enjoyed in moderation.
Why Are There Different Salts?
All salt is essentially the same. However, salt is processed and sourced in different ways which can affect minerals, sodium, and nutrient content.
There are several kinds of salt and they all contain varying amounts of minerals, sodium levels, and additives. However, depending on where and how it’s sourced, it gets a different name. To learn more, check the graph below.
Type of Salt
Contains added iodine. It’s low in impurities.
It’s low in healthy minerals, contains anti-caking chemicals to prevent
the salt crystals from clumping.
Himalayan Pink Salt
Contains trace minerals and is lower in sodium than regular table salt,
and contains no additives.
Contains less iodine than other type of salts.
Contains trace minerals like potassium, iron, and zinc.
Contains trace amounts of toxins like mercury and microplastics.
Contains less anti-caking chemicals than regular table salt.
Contains less iodine than regular table salt.
A type of sea salt which contains trace amounts of minerals and is low in sodium.
Contains trace amounts of mercury and microplastics.
What Are the Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt?
Like any type of salt, Himalayan pink salt is beneficial in its own way. It’s natural, contains minerals, and is low in sodium.
However, many of the nutritional differences depend on how the salt is refined, the location it’s extracted from, and the purity. Like any substance, pink salt does have some side effects. However, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your body.
So how is Himalayan pink salt beneficial? First, you have to understand what makes it different from all other types of salt. Geographical location plays an important role in this.
Himalayan salt comes from the nutrient-rich Khewra Salt Mine in the Pakistan mountains. Its signature pink color comes from the trace amounts of iron oxide and other minerals it contains which are only found in the Himalayan mountains.
Although pink salt functions in the same way other salts do, the main benefits you get from pink salt come from its inherent nutrients which include calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Magnesium, potassium, and iron are extremely beneficial for heart health and lowering blood pressure. Since it contains a higher percentage of these trace minerals, it has less overall sodium than table salt. It’s also more natural than table salt and does not contain any additives.
This pink salt can be expensive which might deter many people. It also doesn’t contain high amounts of iodine like table salt does. Iodine is essential for thyroid function. The thyroid is an organ that regulates hormones. However, iodine deficiency isn’t a typical problem for many and only tends to occur in third world countries.
High in minerals, no trace toxins, lower in sodium than table salt.
Cost, low in iodine.
What Are the Benefits of Table Salt?
Table salt is the most common type of salt consumed around the world. It isn’t sourced from any particular location and can come from anywhere in the world.
It’s also processed more heavily than Himalayan pink salt to remove any impurities. This is done to remove toxins, but this process affects its overall nutritional value However, the sodium content between the two are very similar. Although table salt does contain more sodium per teaspoon than Himalayan salt does.
First, salt is a necessary mineral so that in itself is beneficial. Table salt is extremely refined when compared to other salts. This means it contains no impurities or trace toxins like those contained in sea salt.
Table salt also contains high levels of iodine which are critical for thyroid function — an organ that regulates hormones. In healthy doses, salt keeps your body hydrated, is good for your blood pressure and heart, and prevents heat stroke.
Since regular table salt is heavily processed, it loses most of the healthy trace minerals it naturally contains. This means it also contains more sodium per teaspoon than Himalayan pink salt, but it’s also nutrient deficient when compared to Himalayan salt.
Apart from this, most table salt isn’t 100 percent natural, as they contain anti-caking agents to prevent the salt from clumping together.
High in iodine, no trace toxins.
Low in minerals, high in sodium, and contains anti-caking agents.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
Every type of salt contains its own perks. However, when you compare the differences between them all, one definitely comes to the forefront out of all of the rest.
For several reasons, Himalayan pink salt is the clear winner. Why?
Well, first, pink salt contains more minerals than all the rest. Second, pink salt contains magnesium and potassium which are good for blood pressure and heart and kidney health. And third, Himalayan salt is lower in sodium which means you’ll consume less sodium in the long term, lowering your risk of developing high blood pressure.
Lastly, Himalayan salt does not contain any toxins or additives making it the most natural salt for your body!
These 7 Habits Have Dramatically Improved My Sleep Life
As someone who has had lifelong problems sleeping, I know firsthand the frustration that comes with not getting your beauty sleep.
But there’s a silver lining.
All those years of not being able to sleep well and trying
different things have helped me slowly improve my sleep life over time.
Now that I’m nearing my 30s and live with my husband, my
sleep life has dramatically improved thanks to these five habits I’ve
cultivated over the years.
1. No Tech in the Bedroom
My husband and I just keep our bedroom for sleeping (and sex,
of course). This means we don’t hang out in there during the day, don’t work in
there, and don’t watch TV in there. It’s important to us to not have a TV in
We also don’t bring our laptops into the bedroom either. We do, however, bring our phones, but they are solely for alarm purposes, we never look on our phones in the bed or use them while in the bedroom. My phone is off in the bedroom since I don’t need to wake up at a specific time most days and my husband’s is on airplane mode (scary cell phone radiation, anyone?)
This just our personal philosophy but we don’t want to
accumulate a bunch of energy in the bedroom, especially before bed. We find
that minimizing our activity in the bedroom and keeping tech out of the bedroom
helps the space feel calm and ready for sleep.
2. No Sugar or Caffeine Before Bed
I’ve noticed that I sleep a lot better when doing
intermittent fasting, which is how I lost the few pounds I wanted to before my
I chose to do intermittent fasting by not eating for a period
of about 16 hours every day. So essentially, I would eat my regular meals
throughout the day, but cut out late night snacks. So I would not eat from
about 8 p.m. at night to noon the next day.
This also helped me eliminate sugar and caffeine a few hours
before bed. This is a practice I started doing years ago when I found that
eating these things at night—think desserts, chocolate, coffee, or even
caffeinated tea such as green tea—would make it impossible for me to fall
3. Using Organic Bedding
I did not realize how much a toxic mattress was killing my
Fortunately, the mattress I had at that time was about a
decade old and needed to be replaced, so about a year before our wedding, my
husband and I invested in an all-organic mattress. We also chose to invest in
organic cotton sheet sets, pillows, and a comforter.
(You can read more about my transition to all organic clothing here and here).
Not only is my organic mattress and bedding so much more comfortable and luxurious than my old bedding (and hella more expensive!), I swear it helps me sleep better knowing I’m not being exposed to toxic chemicals.
4. The Military Sleep Trick
So I know this one is weird but I swear it works! It was
developed to help soldiers fall asleep anywhere in less than two minutes.
It’s easy and can be done in three simple steps as you are
trying to fall asleep:
Relax your entire body including your facial muscles as you sink into the mattress. Let tension go from places you didn’t realize were tense.
Take ten deep, conscious breaths while keeping your mind clear. For me, if my mind begins to run with a thought, I start over.
Do one of the following three things that most resonates with you:
Picture yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake with only blue sky above you
Imagine snuggling in a velvet black hammock in a pitch-black room
Repeating “don’t think, don’t think” until you fall asleep
I do the canoe one; if I have trouble sleeping, most nights
this helps me fall asleep.
5. No Clock in the Bedroom
We actually don’t have a clock in our bedroom. I haven’t had
a clock in my bedroom for the last 12 years.
Looking at the time when I’m trying to fall asleep gives me
anxiety so I just don’t see the need to have a clock in our bedroom.
Fortunately, I’m a freelancer who works from home so I get to sleep in every
single day and don’t need to worry about what time I get up.
Even when you do need to wake up in the morning I recommend
setting your alarm and turning your phone on airplane mode and not looking at
your phone until the alarm goes off. My husband and I have found this practice
super helpful (especially since he needs to wake up in the morning and I
I’ve found that exercise plays a huge role in whether or not I sleep well. Usually, regular exercise helps me sleep so much better!
I run but I also lift weights and do yoga on occasion. I also
walk a four-mile loop with my neighbor several times a week. Staying active not
only relieves stress but helps me fall asleep easier and stay asleep.
7. Addressing My Health Issues
So, of course, many of you know my crazy misdiagnosis story which led me to a wild and wonderful journey of hard lessons in learning how to take care of myself.
I’ve been tested for food intolerances and have eliminated gluten, dairy, genetically modified food, and commercial meat from my diet. I’ve found that, in general, my body doesn’t respond well to grains and so I lead a mostly grain-free diet.